It’s good for the groom to have a moment to reflect, in white panic – ‘is she coming’?
It adds a dramatic edge to the service.Which is fitting, as I’m known to my friends as a bit of a drama queen.
There were so many traditional things at our wedding, but they were outnumbered by the quirky, funny things. The off-the-wall non-traditional things that made our wedding seem like a postscript to the movie Four Weddings and A Funeral.
It’s not usual for the vicar to be cross that the bride is late, that’s true. But it is somewhat unusual to be so incensed by the lateness of the bride (It was only thirty minutes late! Keep your hair on!) that he asks ‘where the hell have you been’ as she gets out of the wedding car. And then shakes his head in irritation when the bride snaffles an admiring passer-by to reach down the back of the bridal gown to stash away a long corset tie that was trailing behind her, thus delaying the ceremony even longer!
It’s traditional for the groom to be somewhat nervous, and for the groom’s brother to joke that perhaps the bride isn’t coming after all. And laugh uproariously when the groom falters, for a moment, before regaining composure and certainty that ‘yes, she IS!’
The church was beautifully traditional. An age old stone English church in a sleepy town on the Yorkshire Wolds. Light poured in through the stained glass windows, and each church row was bedecked with flowers picked from the groom’s mother’s garden.
Weddings traditionally feature beautiful bridesmaids and delicious men in suits – Miss Fliss was beaming in her white princess dress, a dab of lipgloss on her cherry lips. She stood at the altar with her sister, who was beautiful and pink cheeked in her Laura Ashley party dress. Son escourted me down the aisle, standing tall dark and handsome, his Mum on his arm.
And when I reached the altar and took my handsome groom’s arm he turned to me with wide eyes and said ‘You look stunning love’.
We sang a few songs, listened to a couple of readings including my school chapter – 13th Chapter of First Corinthians, and then we exchanged vows.
*I promised to no longer squeeze the toothpaste from the middle of the tube, for now and always.
He promised to no longer ‘give instructions’ when I’m driving, for now and always.
So far, so traditional.
And there was some stuff about loving and honouring each other (but no obeying)! The vicar told us that we were made for each other – that I was a valley to his mountain.
Then all I could think about was ‘mountain man’ and I started to giggle.
Shooting disapproving looks in my direction the vicar pulled out his long scarf thingames for the blessing. He wanted to bind our hands together, but I was clueless. They don’t do that in the Prebyterian church, as far as I remembered from wedding number one. I wasn’t certain which hand to put forward, so I put forward the right and then changed my mind and proferred the left.
My groom caught the giggles too, and we laughed openly as we both presented both hands to the vicar, who was by now, completely irate. He turned to us and in a low voice – but loud enough for the first row of the congregation to hear – he said in very un-vicary type language:
‘Stop fucking around you two!’
From that day forth for now and forever, I will stop on May 23rd and smile at all the funny, special, traditional and non traditional moments of our wedding three years ago and our life together since that day in July 2007 when we met in the garden of the Musee Rodin.
But most of all I will smile, as I remember that when my Englishman loved a woman (me), he married me.
“Faith, hope, love, these three. But the greatest of these is love” 13th 1 Cor
*The vows presented here may not reflect the true vows, word for word.